Parenting

My first week as a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD).

The Decision

So we finally made the decision to have me stay at home and take care of the house and kids. This came after me getting let go from painting side jobs because the holidays caused work to slow down. We knew that finding more work was a long shot, and that we couldn’t afford daycare while I looked for more work. We took the plunge and told the daycare this would be our 2 year old’s last week. This was on a Friday, two weeks before Christmas.

Complications Begin

Saturday, my father noticed his chest was swollen. Two before, he had his pacemaker replaced due to age of the device. The swelling was at the site of the replacement. My mom took him to the emergency room and they said it was a minor infection. They gave him antibiotics and asked that he make an appointment with his heart doctor on Monday.

Sunday night, we got together with some friends of ours and went to a place called Little Bethlehem in Gilbert, South Carolina. This is an extremely large-scale version of a living nativity scene. They have built a small town, brought in animals, and staffed with re-en-actors. There is complimentary hot cocoa, coffee, snacks, and crafts. The entire event is free, actually. It was amazing and we had a great time.

On the way home, our 2 year old, Bam, throws up in his car seat. We get home and I pull the entire seat out, with him in it, and get to work cleaning up. We get him bathed and him and the other kids in bed. Just as we are going to sleep, Bam throws up in his bed and we have to clean him up. Luckily, this was the last event of the night.

The first week starts

Monday came and I got up at 6am. I made breakfast burritos for the wife and the 11 and 8 year olds. The 4 and 2 year olds had cereal. I made lunches and got everyone out of the house no problem. The rest of the day went smoothly and we had a great evening together. This SAHD thing may not be too hard after all. My dad made his appointment with the heart doctor for Tuesday afternoon.

The week decides to turn against me.

Tuesday morning goes just as smoothly as Monday. I have plenty of time after dropping kids at school to do dishes and laundry before taking the 4 year old to school at 1130. I put the 2 year old down for a nap and sit down to enjoy the fruit of my hard work.

My mom calls. My dad’s pacemaker site ruptured from the swelling and he went to his appointment early. This scared me but I figured it would be ok. Soon after, Mom tells me Dad is being admitted to the hospital for the infection. I comfort her and let her know everything will be ok, though I had doubts myself.

The rest of the day went well, picking up the kids and getting homework done. Dinner was in the Crockpot and I had plenty of time to kill before the wife got home.

Mom called, “Your dad has to have surgery to remove his pacemaker so the infection can clear.” My heart sank. My wife made arrangements for friends to watch the kids on Wednesday so I could take Mom to the hospital for Dad’s surgery.

The worst is over

I get up at 5am and pick up Mom, getting to the hospital at 6am to see Dad before 7am surgery. We spent time together before watching them take him away. We got breakfast and then went to the waiting room.

I had to leave early to take the 4 year old to school because our friend had to be back home early. Dad’s surgery finished while I was gone and I came back to take my mom home. Everything looked like it would be ok.

Or so we thought

Thursday comes and it’s Grinch day for the 4 year old at school. My dad had been looking forward to helping my son with it, so I take him to the hospital to get him ready in front of Dad. I start to notice he has an upset tummy, but it didn’t seem too bad. We got his Grinch stuff on and Dad’s spirits lifted from being involved. 4 year old uses the bathroom again while we are there.

The real trouble begins

While on the way to take 4 year old to school, the daycare calls. “Bam has had diarrhea all morning and we have reached the limit of what we can deal with, we need you to pick him up.” I let them know I will be there as soon as I take 4 year old to school. 4 year old falls asleep on the way.

I get grumpy Grinch to school and convince him to go inside.

I high-tail it to the daycare to get Bam. Just my luck, he just fell asleep for a nap. He is plenty grumpy and doesn’t want anything to do with me. We stop twice for the bathroom on the way home. Once we get home, I give him Tylenol, to fight the 101 fever, and lay down with him to get him to sleep. I have to wake him up to get the other kids from school.

Life gets crappy

Bam and I get to the elementary school and pick up the 8 and 4 year olds. Before we get out of the line, 4 year old says he has to go poopy. I get home ASAP. When we get home, 4 year old says he doesn’t have to go, but 2 year old does.

While waiting to go wipe Bam, 4 year old starts screaming upstairs. I go up to investigate and find liquid poo leaking from his pants onto the carpet. I pick him up and put him in the bath, shoes and all.

Bam yells that he is “done” and I enlist my 8 year old daughter, Boo, to go wipe him. She hesitates but comes through for me. I start a load of laundry which includes the bathroom rug, of things my 4 year old soiled. My wife calls as I am scrubbing diarrhea out of the upstairs carpet.

No rest for the fatherly

For the next 24 hours, Bam and 4 year old have chronic diarrhea. I am up all night, until 4am, changing pull-ups and scrubbing booties. Finally, I tag my wife in. I figured she could stand getting up an hour early. I still get up at 6am and make breakfast and lunches. I take my daughter Boo to school and come back home with the boys. 4 year old had no school as it was a half-day, and Bam wasn’t allowed back at daycare for 24 hours. I spend the rest if the day helping with bathroom trips, filling them up on Gatorade, and the 3 of us taking naps where we could get them.

The end is neigh, and topped with pepperoni

Needless to say, I got nothing done around the house that Friday. In lieu of a home-cooked meal, I called in Marco’s Pizza to pinch-hit for me. The wife and older kids rejoiced, while the littles were content with grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Oh she of little faith

At the end of the day, as we were settling into bed, my wife confided in me. “I was worried about you being a SAHD. I didn’t know if you could handle the stress or would be able to keep your cool.” She smirked, “But after the literal crap you endured this week, I have no doubt that you are the man for the job.”

Join me

There you have it, the story of my first week. I have no doubt that there will be many more stories like this in my new career as a SAHD. I will also be posting tips, tricks, articles, and anything else that I think will help other parents out there.

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